Photograph of a drilled well casing Guide to Drinking Water Wells, Well Types
Well Diagnosis & Repair
     


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Guide to all types of water wells: well construction, troubleshooting, & repairs.

This article series describes how to identify types of wells and water pumps, and how to diagnose & fix water well problems or water pressure or water quantity problems.

We describe various types of drinking water sources like wells, cisterns, dug wells, drilled wells, artesian wells and well and water pump equipment. We provide advice about what to do when things go wrong.

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Types of Private Wells & Water Sources & What to Watch Out For

Photograph of a water pressure booster pump and tank systemThis article series describes the different types of sources use for drinking water: wells, cisterns, springs, different well types & different locations for water wells. Here is a comprehensive list of common drinking water sources & well types:

 

Basement Wells

Photograph of a water pressure booster pump and tank systemBefore we discuss modern drilled or driven point wells and hand dug wells found outdoors, let's get this odd case out of the way first.

In some older homes you may find that the water well is a drilled or hand dug well located in the building basement or crawl space.

Wells located in the basement or crawl space of a building are sometimes found, usually at older, pre-1940 buildings. On occasion it appears that the well was originally outside the building but the building was expanded over it.

Early American construction sometimes located a well (or cistern) in a basement so that a mechanical hand pump could be located indoors (perhaps in a kitchen).

This pair of photographs show my clients discovering that the plastic in the center of the basement floor covered a flimsy wood cover which covered a hand-dug stone lined well in the home's basement.

Photograph of a basement well hatchSome concerns for basement wells include the problem that if the building needs to be treated for termites there are extra costs because the well is certainly located too-close to the building.

Also if the building has a problem with basement water entry, depending on the type of well in the basement, there may be a risk of well contamination.

For a modern drilled well which has been "built over" during a building expansion, it becomes impossible to pull out and replace the well piping, foot valve, or submersible pump unless someone has cut a trapdoor into the ceiling/floor above.

Well problem diagnosis continues with the articles listed below.

WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR starts
at WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR

Or see LIFE EXPECTANCY of WATER PUMPS - Well Pumps: how long should a water pump last? What affects pump life?

Reader Question: identify well casing types

I was in the process of buying this home when we discovered this pipe hiding on the property. Do you know what this is? Is it some kind of underground oil storage tank? Thanks - F.L. 11/3/2012

Photograph of an unknown device, probably a well casing Photograph of an unknown device, probably a well casing

Reply:

From looking at the fencing behind the vertical steel device in your pictures I infer that the diameter is around 6-8 inches - which would make this more likely a steel well casing, not an oil storage tank.

What was mysterious or maybe misleading was that apparent oil-stain like discoloration around the steel pipe elbow and close nipple connected near the top of the casing.

Here are some further investigation steps you can take to convince us we know what this is:

  • look at and into the top of the casing for piping, wires, visible water
  • drop a string or weight, perhaps with a rag attached, down to the bottom of the casing, measure the depth, and pull it back out. If oil were contained in this system you'd see it and smell it on the rag when you pull it back out. (Water hangs out at the bottom of an oil container so the rag would pass through any oil first)
  • look inside the building for signs of old well piping at the basement or crawl space walls
  • see our article on how to spot abandoned oil tanks - at OIL TANK, BURIED, FINDING

(Apr 4, 2014) Jamie said:

That is a common method used for containing old drilled wells. The large pipe has been pushed over the existing drilled well pipe. If i had to guess the water has a high salt content (drilled too low) and the pipe had rotted. I know this because I have a property with the same problem.

 

Continue reading at ARTESIAN WELLS, Well Spools or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

Or see WELL LIFE EXPECTANCY how long should a water well and its water supply last.

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WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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